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Lowell Mill Girl Letters

April 11, 1847

 University of Massachusetts Lowell 
Transcribed: University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center For Lowell History 

Lowell April 11, 18471

      I have been sitting here with this open sheet before me for a long time hoping that this heavy pain in my head would pass away and that I should feel more like writing. But I will wait no longer but at once commence a letter for you and it should prove a dull one it will I presume be no more than you expect. Comforting!

     Allow me first, to thank you for your expected favor received last Monday. I am glad that your sudden illness did not effect your spirits and am grateful for your cheerful written letter.

     I regret that you are subject to such severe attacks. It is well for you that you can bear them patiently and that you are at home surrounded by friends.

 I have had some pleasant days during the past week. But today is so excessively windy that I should not have enjoyed going out had I felt well enough to attend church.

      And you I suppose are at home, and I hope well, is it so? I am glad that you have been to Pembroke. And seen Helen. She had not arrived in Lowell last Thursday for I spent the afternoon with my friend Miss Skinner,2 neither did her friends expect her. I should think that she would make known her intention of visiting them. I should be happy to see her as would all of her friends in this vicinity. Susan commenced going to the High School last Friday it being the beginning of the present-term.

      I think she will enjoy it very much.

      I wish I could see Franks’ Daguerreotype. I think it must be very beautiful. Why will you not bring it when you visit?

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      I don’t know what ails me unless I am growing old and melancholy. I have not felt like myself since I came from home. The days seem to drag away on “leaden wings”.

       It is only a fortnight last Friday since I returned and I surely ought not to think of going home again before July.

       I am astonished when I think that I remained almost four weeks and with that rest I seem to have returned with less strength than ever to perform my daily labors.

       I have thought within a day or two that it may be my lengthened walk that makes me feel so badly.

       We do not take breakfast now before we go to work and so we have to walk over the ground to and from our boarding place twice more than we do in the fall and winter. You perhaps may smile with many others at the idea of a long walk doing one any harm. But I can easily see how unpleasant way,  windy weather and bad weather and bad walking can affect one unfavorably. I trust I shall soon get used to it.

       We have not heard from home since I came back but are hoping every day that we shall. What did your package to Joseph contain? I am interested to learn.

       I attended our annual Sabbath School Exhibition last Thursday3 evening. The children looked beautifully and sang sweetly.

The house was very full. The exercises closed by the performing of the marriage ceremony. A queer time and place for a wedding surely! Will you not be surprised when I tell you that it was an old bachelor who was married in that crowd? and truly he looked just like one.

“They say” that he looked his best-on that evening. Poor man. 


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       Does it appear any like spring in New Hampshire yet? Or do you continue to have sleighing?

       We have had a number of snow-storms here since I  came back. I hope that we shall not have any more till next fall. I shall rejoice to see the grass green once again and the trees put forth their leaves. I hope that spring with its mild influences will restore health to our dear little invalid. Mrs. Gordon4  intends going into the country with her as soon as she is able to ride. She continues very feeble cannot stand alone yet. But we think she is gaining very slowly. She has seemed more inclined to talk during the past week. How I long to see her running and playing round the house! But it will be a long time before she is well.

       We had one of the finest days of the season, for “our Feast”. I was glad enough to have a day of rest. 
How much longer the days are! We worked until almost seven, Saturday afternoon. It was along day I assure you. I measured 11621 yards and entered and checked fifteen bales etc. etc.  Am I not very interesting?

       I am almost tired of business and think some of studying medicine! What do you think of it? Should I make it profitable?

       I am not interested enough in that widower to enter into particulars again, so pray excuse me. 
I did not tell you in my last that I had after you left considered a very good and in every respect, pleasing 
offer. I really felt quite honored.

       Please give my love to your mother and sister and believe me yours.

                                               Sarah Elisabeth 


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       It is Monday afternoon. I have just finished a long letter to the inmates of my own home. How much I do want to see them! I feel very well today. Are you not glad to hear it? I hope soon to hear of your improved health. Shall I not? This really appears like what it is April weather. I think we shall have but few flowers by May-day.

       Miss Percival got home the last of May to spend the summer and autumn months. Do you hear any thing from your Lebanon friends? Did Helen tell you any news? Do you really think she will come to Lowell?

       Mr. Haskins I hear, has returned to Boston and without a wife.

       I did not tell you the particulars of that offer, for fear that you would regret that I did not accept of it. 
I mention it because coming from the source it did, it gratified me exceedingly.

       Miss Skinner desires to be remembered to you.

[on cover] 
Joseph Kidder, 
Manchester, N.H.


  2Miss Hannah Skinner, tailoress shop and house 13 Tilden

 3Advertiser article April 6, 1847 event Fast Day April 8, 1847 - 2nd  
     Universalist Church, Market St. – Rev. Miner

  41847 Mrs. Harriet Gordon, boardinghouse 176 Merrimack; 1850:  
     Elisabeth Clifford bds Mrs. Harriet Gordon 
  5Sarah Elizabeth Clifford b: 1839, ME